Susan Stella

Susan Stella

Head of Investor Relations

Never met a stranger, artist turned strategist, Peace Corps Mongolia, sea kayaking guide, mom of 3 boys, 6 hens, and 1 dog.

Susan leads investor relations focusing on strategically communicating with and supporting Ridge’s investor base.

Prior to joining Ridge, Susan held advisory and/or consulting roles with GroveStreet, ILPA, AIC, and others. For nearly four years, she was principal and director with Knightsbridge Advisers, a venture capital fund of funds, where she was responsible for investor relations and marketing efforts.

Previously, Susan also served as the Director of the Thunderbird Global Private Equity Center (TPEC), a thought-leadership platform developed by the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and was co-founder and partner at Venture Archetypes, a San Francisco-based strategic advisory firm that worked with emerging technology and life sciences companies.

Her background also includes professional assignments with Intel; the German Ministry of Economics and Labor; Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in Germany; and the US Peace Corps and United Nations in Mongolia.

She holds a BA from Drake University and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.


Nancy Thomson

Nancy Thomson

Chief of Staff

The Rock; we probably wouldn’t know how to cross the street without her, mother of three.

Nancy is Chief of Staff and also supports the Managing Partner. She has been with Ridge for over two decades as office manager and executive assistant.

With her deep understanding of the industry, she facilitates HR, administrative, and operations initiatives with the firm. Nancy is the central hub of information for firm-wide responsibilities to ensure team cohesiveness. In addition, she organizes a wide variety of events and meetings, internally and with the broader Ridge community.

She has a BS in Psychology from UC Davis.


Erika Benadom

Erika Benadom

Executive Assistant

Amplifier of the brilliance in others. Recovering elementary school principal. Solution seeker. Abundantly grateful.

Erika supports all Ridge team members with administrative functions such as scheduling, virtual event operations, and founder onboarding and communication.

Prior to joining Ridge, she worked at three start-ups that were each at different stages in their growth as companies. Most recently, Erika supported marketing at Dwellsy, a first year start-up in the PropTech space. She was able to gain first hand experience of the challenges that founders face in terms of securing funding and product market fit. She applies these lessons in her role today through a deep empathy for the founder experience. Before Dwellsy, Erika supported the CMO of WeWork where she coordinated all operations for a global marketing team. The “almost” IPO adventure of WeWork positioned Erika for understanding foundational blocks that are necessary for a start-up to be successful.

Her first role after transitioning from a two-decade career in public education was at Moveworks, a two-year-old startup focused on natural language processing and machine learning to automate IT support issues. She supported the marketing team as it transitioned out of stealth mode.

She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Boston University and an MS in Education Technology from Pepperdine University.


Derrick Lee

Derrick Lee

CFO

Excel jockey, appetite for learning, caffeine addict, obsessed with precision, father of two

Derrick brings nearly two decades of finance experience to Ridge, primarily from the venture capital industry.

Prior to joining Ridge, he was CFO at Wildcat Venture Partners and Mohr Davidow Ventures where he worked with investment professionals and attorneys throughout all stages of deal financings ensuring portfolio companies were successfully financed, negotiated deal terms, constructed term sheets, and documented review amongst a myriad of other responsibilities.

He previously held a variety of roles with State Street Corporation including fund accounting, internal auditing, and performance analysis for clients including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

He holds a BA in Economics from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Arizona State University.


Andrew Cove

Andrew Cove

Technology

Builder and founder turned mountain-dwelling powder hound. Not your typical ski bum.

Andrew builds internal tools and products for investment and operations activities.

Prior to joining Ridge, he was the CEO and technical co-founder of Cover (acquired by Velocity Black), a global payments platform in hospitality that raised $7M. Previously, he was a summer associate at IA Ventures, managed dealflow at AngelList, was also an EIR advisor to Techstars’ Comcast accelerator and to an NYC consumer mobile startup.

Andrew began his career as a graphics/game engine programmer for Playstation. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Inc., the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Lifehacker, and a slew of tech outlets.

He holds a BS and MS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.


Patrick Kenealy

Patrick Kenealy

Venture Partner

Media business sage, student of computer history, operator turned investor, father of three.

Pat is a Co-Founder and Venture Partner at Ridge and currently serves as board director or observer at Espresa, nWay, Upwave and Yesware.

Prior to co-founding Ridge, Pat was CEO at IDG, Publisher and CEO of PCWorld and Founder and CEO of IDG’s Digital News Publishing subsidiary.

Pat holds a BA in Economics from Harvard University.


Gil Penchina

Gil Penchina

Venture Partner

Cryptocurrency geek, repeat founder, rule breaker, closet plastic electric violin virtuoso, father of two.

Gil joined Ridge as a Venture Partner in 2011, and as a Managing Director in 2017, after collaborating on investments with Alex Rosen since 1999.

Gil is Co-founder of Fastly, and was previously CEO of Wikia (now a top 50 website), and a member of the pre-IPO executive team at eBay. Prior to eBay, Gil worked at General Electric, Bain & Company, and started two small technology companies.

As a serial entrepreneur and prolific angel investor, Gil has been an early investor in “unicorn” startups including Cruise Automotive, Dollar Shave Club, LinkedIn, and PayPal. Gil’s angel investments span 100+ companies including Wealthfront, AltSchool, AngelList, eShares, Hooked, Switch.co, Indiegogo, Datanyze, and more.

He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MBA from Kellogg School of Business.


Mary Boyajian

Mary Boyajian

Analyst

Eternally curious. Engineer in a past life. Runs on chocolate and coffee. Happiest outdoors.

Mary supports the investment and build teams by conducting research, supporting due diligence efforts, and contributing to the building of internal processes and tools at Ridge.

Prior to joining Ridge, she worked at Accenture as a Senior Analyst where she developed functional and technical designs for ERP Implementation. Earlier at Accenture, she was also Lead Business Analyst and Software QA Lead, where she led software QA and UAT testing, designed test cases and validated functionality, and trained directors and managers on software functionalities.

She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from California Institute of Technology.


Yousuf Khan

Yousuf Khan

Partner

Sweater vest-wearing CIO; from Pakistan, Egypt, Kenya, and UK. Digs Dr. Pepper, Eagles, Spiderman and helping founders.

Yousuf focuses on supporting founders through the vantage point of deep start-up experience having held multiple operating roles. He currently serves as board director for Polly, the leading survey solution in Slack and Microsoft Teams and Ridge-backed Rewind, the leading backup solution for business-critical web applications.

Prior to joining Ridge, Yousuf was the first-ever CIO of Automation Anywhere, a global leader in Robotic Process Automation. He was the CIO and Vice President of Customer Success at cloud-based AI platform Moveworks, as well as CIO of Pure Storage, Qualys, and Hult International Business School. He continues to host monthly CIO events amongst his peers which have become known as group therapy dinners where problem solving and design partnership lead conversations.

He holds a BSc in Business Management from King’s College London.


Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker

Partner

Seeker of quietly awesome people, ascender and descender of mountains, furniture maker, and recovered materials engineer.

Brendan focuses on helping founders build large, generational, revenue-driven companies. He led Ridge’s investment in Loop Returns. He currently serves as board director or observer at Grabango, Loop Returns and Sama.

Prior to joining Ridge, Brendan worked with several early-stage venture funds including Wing and Hone Capital, as well as companies and accelerators including Passport, Shift, Batch, AngelPad, Techstars, and others.

Previously, Brendan was also a Director at Greylock, founding a program to build data and software systems to find and evaluate new investments. He was the second employee at AngelList, overseeing 8000 pitches and helping more than 300 startups raise funding.

His background also includes professional assignments with Practica Foundation as Ethiopian Country Director, which designs and distributes low cost water and energy products in African markets, as well as serving as Director of Engineers Without Borders Canada.

He holds a BASc in Materials Engineering from University of British Columbia, MPhil from University of Cambridge, and an MBA from University of Oxford.